When a car weighing 2,000 pounds is being driven at a high rate of speed or in a reckless way, it comes as no surprise that a fatal car crash can occur. Unfortunately, hundreds of people lose their lives in car accidents on Minnesota's roads every year.
Preliminary data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety indicates that the number of people killed in traffic accidents in Minnesota did not significantly go up or down in 2016 when compared to the number of people killed in traffic accidents in 2015. Between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016, 397 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in Minesota. However, the Office of Traffic Safety anticipates that that number will go up to 412 once the final numbers are calculated. In 2015, 411 people lost their lives in fatal traffic accidents in Minnesota.
Officials find these numbers to be "disappointing." Minnesota's "Toward Zero Deaths" initiative began in 2003, and since it began, the state has seen traffic deaths go down 37 percent. However, the number of traffic deaths has plateaued during the previous five years. There was a significant decline in traffic deaths between 2007, which saw 510 traffic deaths and 2014, which saw 361 traffic deaths.
One of the major reasons that 2016's numbers were as high as they were was the fact that 60 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents that year. It was the deadliest year for pedestrians since 1991. However the number of motorcycle traffic deaths and bicyclist traffic deaths went down in 2016 when compared to 2015.
In the end, officials urge people not to drive while distracted. Cell phones and pieces of technology have made multi-tasking a common practice in other facets of our lives, but multi-tasking should not be done while behind the wheel of a car. As the public becomes more aware of the dangers of distracted driving, as well as other dangers such as drunk driving, drowsy driving and road rage, perhaps the future will see fewer traffic deaths on Minnesota's roads.
Source: StarTribune, "Although high, traffic fatalities on Minnesota roads remain flat in 2016," Tim Harlow, Jan. 5, 2017